President Donald Trump has blocked out some network TV prime time on Tuesday night for a national address, but that means some beloved shows will get bumped this week.
President Trump is still looking for a way to convince legislators to fund his border wall project. In the meantime, the federal government remains closed, as he refused to accept a budget with less than $5.7 billion for construction of the wall. On Tuesday, he hopes to get on air and explain why federal employees have worked without pay for nearly three weeks now, but many TV fans are not happy about the interruption.
The presidential address will air on CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox at 9 p.m. ET. It has been scheduled for a full hour, meaning that all of the beloved shows for that time will skip this week, with new episodes held off until next Tuesday. CBS was the first network to agree to show the address, displacing a new episode of FBI in the process.
On ABC, Black-ish and Splitting Up Together will miss this week, while Fox will have to skip The Gifted. On NBC, Ellen's Game of Games will fall by the wayside. Meanwhile, cable news networks including MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and Fox Business will all skip their usual programming for the address as well.
The sudden halt in normal programming has been in the works since at least Monday morning. The New York Times reported that representatives of the Trump administration were reaching out to networks looking for airtime on Tuesday night. Just a few short hours later, the president announced the address on Twitter.
I am pleased to inform you that I will Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border. Tuesday night at 9:00 P.M. Eastern.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2019
"I am pleased to inform you that I will Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border," he wrote. "Tuesday night at 9:00 P.M. Eastern."
The president is also planning an in-person visit to the southern border on Thursday to make a case for his wall. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the plan on Monday through Twitter as well.
In response, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have demanded equal airtime to give a rebuttal to the president's address. On Twitter, Pelosi wrote that the president's "past statements" have been "full of malice and misinformation." However, some political commentators felt that no amount of fact-checking or rebuttal would carry the same weight as a legitimized presidential address.
Now that the television networks have decided to air @realDonaldTrump’s address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime.— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) January 8, 2019
The idea that a Democratic rebuttal or fact-checking will make this better is insulting," reporter Judd Legum tweeted. "If I break my arm and a doctor gives me a cast, I'm thankful. If a doctor breaks my arm and hands me a band-aid, it's not a favor."
So far, CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox and CNN have all agreed to air the Democratic rebuttal, according to Bloomberg. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports that the Trump administration is looking into ways it can declare a national emergency, giving the president power to build his border wall without approval from Congress or the Senate.
The presidential address airs live across many TV networks at 9 p.m. ET.